J-K: Separatist leader Masarat Alam's bail plea rejected
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J-K: Separatist leader Masarat Alam's bail plea rejected

A local court in Budgam on Saturday rejected the bail application of hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Masarat Alam Bhat.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2015 21:48 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Jammu,Budgam,Hardline Hurriyat Conference

A local court in Budgam on Saturday rejected hardline Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam's bail plea in a case where he is facing sedition charges.

Alam who was released last month was arrested for charges of "raising anti-national slogans and Pakistani flag" at a rally in Srinagar. The police had charged him with sedition and "waging war against India." The police had registered an FIR against him and Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani on April 15.

Masarat's counsel had submitted a bail application in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Budgam on April 17, the same day when the hardline Hurriyat leader was arrested.

Earlier this week the government had slapped Public Safety Act on Alam making his chances of release very dim. This was the seventh time since 2010 that the PSA was slapped on Alam. The authorities had shifted him to Kotbalwal jail in Jammu on April 23.

He was under the PSA detention for 54 months, post 2010 Kashmir uprising.

Alam was arrested by the J&K police on April 17 from his Habba Kadal residence following the registration of an FIR against him, Geelani and others.

The CJM Budgam, before whom Masarat moved his bail plea, had reserved the matter for final orders on April 25 after concluding arguments from both the sides.

Lawyers of imprisoned hardliner had argued that "Alam represented a sentiment and an ideology prevalent in the state'' and cannot be denied peaceful political space.

The defence had referred to a high court judgement passed in 1983 by a state judge where it was held that "unfurling Pakistan flag is not a crime."

This is the seventh time the PSA has been slapped on Alam.

Masarat who was charged with inciting the youth during the summer unrest of 2010 was arrested under the Act thrice since his arrest in October 2008. He, however, was released a few days after the PDP-BJP government assumed office in March.

His release however has evoked strong reaction from opposition as well as the government's alliance partner BJP -with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing anguish in the Parliament.

Alam, chief of Muslim League, a faction of hardline Hurriyat Conference, is widely seen as a successor to the ailing chief of the organization -- Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the Valley as separatist leaders in Kashmir had called a shutdown to protest against Alam's detention under the PSA.

First Published: Apr 25, 2015 13:33 IST